REVIEW | Finnair Airbus A320 Business Class Brussels to Helsinki

Nico traveled to Thailand in July 2022. He kindly shares his experience on board and in the lounge. 

For our trip to Bangkok we booked business class tickets with Finnair. We selected Finnair for two reasons: back when we booked in February, before the war in Ukraine, traveling via Helsinki in Finland was the shortest route to Bangkok and Finnair had really attractive prices in business class: 1590 euro round trip per person. That’s a pretty sharp price for long haul business class, so let’s see if the product is as sharp.

Flight: AY1546, Brussels to Helsinki
Scheduled departure time: 19.15 (7.15 pm)
Flight time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Plane: Airbus 320
Seat: 4F, business class

Before the flight

Finnair has three types of business class fares: light, classic and flex. The light product is really bare bones, with not even lounge access included. But even in the classic fare some services are not included that other airlines do offer, like seat selection. For the flight from Brussels to Helsinki, a fee of 40 euro per seat is due when you want to select the seat in advance. For a long haul flight, seat selection fares are even more brutal. I will get into that in the next review.

44 euros for seat selection.

So naturally we decided not to select seats before check-in, in the end we were seated in 4D and 4F, the last row of business class.

Despite horror stories you hear these days about chaos at European airports everything went pretty smooth in Brussels. We breezed through security thanks to the priority that comes with a business class ticket, but even the security lanes for all other passengers weren’t too long.

Finnair uses The Loft, the lounge of Brussels Airlines. I’ve reviewed this one extensively before, so I won’t be reviewing it again.

Boarding

Our boarding pass mentioned boarding should start at 6.45 pm and indeed at 6.45 sharp priority guests were invited to board. There seemed to be a problem with the scanner, as the boarding agent needed to insert the ticket number manually. Once in the airbridge, we had to wait for 5 more minutes before we could actually proceed to the plane.

Jetway.

Cabin and Seat

Like most European airlines, the cabin layout of this Airbus A320 had a 3-3 configuration. Business class passengers get the same seat as economy passengers, however the middle seat is blocked to give business travelers some extra space. The cabin was pretty basic, with no power ports or other amenities.

As far as entertainment goes, there were TV-screens and even a tail camera. That’s pretty impressive on short-haul flights, I don’t think I ever had this before.

Service

Right after boarding, one of the friendly flight attendants presented us with a bottle of water, which is a nice gesture.

Water bottle.

After take off, service started with a hot towel.

Towel.

A few minutes later the meal was served. On short-haul flights, Finnair does not offer any choice. On their website they say that is “to minimize food waste”. You can however order a special meal if you have any dietary requirements. The main meal was a salmon salad which I enjoyed.

Salmon seat.

We were offered some bread from a bread basket. The flight attendant recommended us to take the traditional Finnish rye bread which she described as “very healthy”. So off course we followed her recommendation. I loved how proud she was about the bread.

Finnish bread.

On the meal tray was also another piece of pre-packaged bread.

Bread in a bag.

And there was a cookie on the tray as dessert.

Chocolate cookie.

To drink I had some white wine and a glass of blueberry juice which Finnair describes as ‘Signature Finnair Blueberry Juice‘. The packages of the juice are also Finnair branded. Note also how beautiful the glassware is. It’s from the Finnish design brand Iittala

Side note about the glasses: they were designed for Finnair in 1969, for the inauguration of the route between Helsinki and New York. You can watch a nice video about it below.

As soon as we finished eating, the trays were cleared and we were offered coffee or tea. Not only does Finnair work with Iittala for glassware and chinaware, napkins were provided by Marimekko. I really love these design details.

Coffee.

The flight attendants on this flight were really nice. Both flight attendants working in business class were very experienced and attentive. They also had a sense of humor, which I love. After the service they regularly passed through the cabin to check if anyone needed anything. I can’t describe them differently than absolutely lovely.

Soon enough we started our descent towards Helsinki Airport, where we landed on time. We said goodbye to the crew and headed to immigration for the next chapter of our trip.

In Helsinki.

Bottom line

Finnair short haul business class is a solid product. The seat is nothing special, but unfortunately that’s the standard in European business class. The food was decent and served on proper chinaware (take notes, Brussels Airlines). 

Finnair cooperates with some Finnish design brands like Iittala and Marimekko, that certainly upgrades the experience and the flight attendants were lovely. For a short haul flight within Europe, I’d fly Finnair again in a heartbeat.

Previously by Nico

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